September 2, 2014

News
Fort Wayne Doctor Hatch And Son Made It Out Of This 2003 Crash, But A New Crash Leaves Doctor Dead, Son Badly Hurt
By Jeff Neumeyer


FORT WAYNE, IN (Indiana's NewsCenter) --- The fatal airplane crash Friday near Charlevoix Michigan, that killed Fort Wayne Dr. Stephen Hatch and his wife, and critically injured their son Austin, is not the first time tragedy has struck this family, and in the same way.

It was in 2003 when Dr. Hatch piloted another small plane that crashed, killing most of his family.

The similar circumstances seem almost inconceivable.

Three people died in the plane crash from before.

It took place not far from Fort Wayne.

In September of that year, on a country road west of Ossian in Wells County, you could see the charred shell of the six-passenger Beechcraft Bonanza plane that smacked the ground, flipped on its top, and burst into flames.

Dr. Hatch was burned, but survived.

His son Austin, who was eight at the time, escaped with minor injuries.

But Hatch's first wife Julie, his 11-year old daughter Lindsay, and five-year old son Ian were killed.

In rain and poor visibility, he passed on a landing at Smith Field, diverting south to Fort Wayne International Airport, a facility with a more sophisticated instrument landing system.

Several miles short of the runway, he clipped a power pole and went down.

September 2, 2003/Barry Story/Wells County Sheriff: " They had called in and said they were low on fuel, and then shortly after that they were lost on radar. So, that may have been a determining factor."

A crash investigator later said the team found nothing wrong with the plane's engine, but relayed that the crash impact and fire caused too much damage to yield any useful information about the electrical system.

The family was flying home from a Labor Day weekend getaway in Northern Michigan.

Who could have imagined 8 years later, roughly the same trip by the same pilot would be doomed again.

Lutheran Health Network provided a statement following the more recent crash.

On behalf of Dupont Hospital, Chairman of the Board Todd Rumsey said, “We share our deepest condolences with the family of Dr. Hatch and his wife Kim.

And our thoughts and prayers are with their son Austin, as he fights to recover from his injuries."